The Rugby World Cup kicks off with England v Fiji Friday, and there’s plenty of chances to make some money in the next 6 weeks before the final at Twickenham on Saturday October 31st.
Home Nations Tips
With England in Pool A, bad news for Wales is good news for England who are currently sitting at 5/1 second favourites for the competition. Their scrum has been impressing recently and they have home advantage but the odds overexaggerate the benefit this will bring. A semi-final exit at 10/3 looks the best bet, although the home fans will all dream of them lifting the trophy. The best chance they will have to win the tournament is if they win the group, this will give them a much easier route to the final.
Wales’s odds to win the World Cup have nearly doubled in the last two weeks for one simple reason – injuries. Everything went wrong in their final warm up game against Italy with key players Rhys Webb and Leigh Halfpenny – one of the best kickers in the world – both suffering serious injuries which will rule them out the World Cup. One may be replaceable but not both and I expect this will be a World Cup to forget for Wales sadly who will be very lucky to get out their group.
It would have been a blow to lose their final warm up game to England, but I think they are better than they showed that day. They looked tired against England, probably due to hard training, and a rest before the World Cup will sharpen them up. They can ease into the tournament with two easy games against Canada and Romania and with the pressure they can apply this is the year for Ireland to finally reach the semi-finals (or further), although I can’t see them matching up against New Zealand. As long as Johnny Sexton and Cian Healey stay fit then a New Zealand/Ireland final could well be on the cards at 13/2.
A reasonable group draw sees Scotland having a great chance of qualifying from their group, seemingly going up against Samoa in a head to head for second place behind South Africa. They have to play the winner of Pool A if they do finish 2nd though, and Scotland just don’t have the quality to beat Australia while they’ve not beaten England in the last 8 attempts including a 25-13 defeat in March and a 0-20 mauling at Murrayfield last February.
Rugby World Cup Outright Winner
It’s a lot easier to qualify for the Rugby World Cup than the football equivalent, meaning some teams like Namibia and Uruguay can be instantly dismissed as they are playing amateur players up against a selection of the world’s best players.
The clear favourites for the tournament are New Zealand and it’s easy to see why. Current champions, they’ve made at least the semi-finals every World Cup since 1987 aside from 2007 when they only made the quarter finals. They have lost just three test matches since September 2011 (one against each of England, South Africa, and Australia) and they hammered Australia in their last test before the World Cup 41-13.
They’re the current world number 1 and with a lineup including Dan Carter, Tony Woodcock, Richie McCaw and more means they deserve their place as favourites for the competition. The return of wing Waisake Naholo just 2 months after a broken leg would be a big boost – assuming he’s fully fit – and Brodie Retallick is a huge player for them despite being just 24.
Even at short odds, New Zealand are clearly the most likely to win the competition and there’s no stand out value among the chasing pack so it’s an easy choice for our outright winner tip.
Tip: New Zealand at 6/5 with bet365
Top Try Scorer
The current clear favourite for top try scorer is also a New Zealand player – Julian Savea is best price 5/1. With 30 international tries in just 35 games in his international career, it’s clear why.
In fact, the 2nd, 4th and 5th favourites are also New Zealand players; the reason? They not only have the easiest group, they also play Namibia who shipped a record 142 points against Australia; and there’s been whispers New Zealand could break that record this year. Waisake Naholo is one of the most exciting players in the tournament but 11/1 looks a poor value punt when you consider he’s expected to miss the first 2 games against Argentina and Namibia while he continues to recover from a broken leg.
For that reason, I think the value lies in Nehe Milner-Skudder; 10/1 with bet365, he’s just 24 years of age and only managed 4 tries in 15 appearances for the Hurricanes this year but he’s already had 2 tries for New Zealand in just two starts. He’s got an incredible turn of pace, great hands, and with Naholo out he’ll get plenty of game time and chances against both Argentina and Namibia. Hopefully he’ll show what he’s made of and keep getting game time even from game 3 onwards.
If you’re not sure about backing him, just have a watch of this YouTube videos of some of his highlights from the Super League:
If you’re after an Each Way pick at bigger odds, Adam Ashley-Cooper was one of the 3 players on 5 tries last year for Australia and can be backed at a massive standout of 50/1 with Betfair to be top try scorer this year, with 5 places paid at ¼ odds.
Top Try Scorer Tip: Nehe Milner-Skudder 10/1 with bet365
Top Try Scorer Each Way Tip: Adam Ashley-Cooper 50/1 EW with Betfair
Outright: New Zealand to win 6/5 with bet365
Top Try Scorer Tips: Nehe Milner-Skudder 10/1 with bet365 & Adam Ashley Cooper 50/1 EW with Betfair
To Meet In Final: New Zealand & Ireland 13/2 with Ladbrokes
England Tip: England To Exit in Semi Finals 10/3 with Betfair